Data is much more than simply information: in expert hands, it is intelligence.
Global agriculture is increasingly driven by data. Advances in computing power, data storage, and data communications over the last 30 years have given rise to powerful tools for helping make farming and food systems more precise, profitable, and adaptive. Newer digital innovations — including machine learning, the expansion of connected sensor technologies, and robotics — promise more dramatic changes in the farming landscape in the near future.
However, digital agriculture worldwide has not realized its full potential. Despite very active promotion from industry, to date, the real rates of adoption of precision agriculture have been slow in most industrialized economies, where market offerings tend to favor large farms or high-value specialty crops. Farmers, and those who serve them, must navigate an array of competing standards for equipment and services. Farm data ownership and, as a result, the best way forward for the free flow of data, remains unclear.
The rapid growth in processing power and global connectivity means we can now quickly collect, share and analyze enormous amounts of data to reveal new ways to reduce hunger and poverty and develop robust responses to climate change, disease, and land degradation challenges.
The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture serves to provide leadership in organizing open data, convening partners, and demonstrating the power of big data analytics through inspiring projects.